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4 November 2022

A new screening service is being launched in Dorset to identify lung conditions much earlier and improve outcomes for patients.

The Targeted Lung Health Check is part of a national initiative aimed at diagnosing and treating lung and breathing problems before they become serious.

People aged 55 to 74, who are registered with a Dorset GP and are a current or former smoker, will be invited to have a Lung Health Check. The programme will be rolled out across Dorset over the next two to three years, starting with Portland from this month (November 2022).

Dorset County Hospital (DCH) is the lead provider for the programme, working with health partners throughout the county.

Dr Jenny Graves, DCH Respiratory Consultant, explains: “Lung Health Checks are a really important check-up of the overall health of your lungs and can spot any early signs of lung problems, often before you notice anything is wrong. This means that, if lung cancer, or another problem with your breathing or lungs is found at an early stage, treatment could be simpler and more successful.

“You will be invited to attend a Lung Health Check appointment even if you feel fit and healthy and currently have no lung problems, or if you currently have a lung condition.

“Everyone who is eligible for one of these checks will receive an appointment for a  telephone conversation to explain what is involved and will then be booked into a face-to-face appointment for the Lung Health Check. At this a nurse will ask you some questions about your breathing and overall lung health. They will also ask you about your lifestyle, family and medical history, and your height and weight will be taken along with spirometry (a breathing test) and carbon monoxide levels.

“The nurse may also talk to you about having a low dose CT scan of your lungs. If you are invited to a lung scan, you will be asked to travel to the appointment which will be provided from either University Hospitals Dorset (Poole) or Dorset County Hospital.

“If you have a scan, you will be contacted with the results of it and any follow up advice either via a telephone call and/or letter and your GP will also be made aware.”

The Dorset Lung Health Check service will be run by specially trained nurses from Dorset County Hospital. For patients who live in the east of the county, Lung Health Check appointments will take place at the Chiropractic Clinic, AECC University College, Bournemouth. For patients who live in the west of the county, appointments will take place at Weymouth Community Hospital or at South Walks House in Dorchester.

Further information is available on the DCH website here: https://www.dchft.nhs.uk/service/lung-health-check/

For those who aren’t eligible for a Lung Health Check, it is still really important to look after your lungs by being active, stopping smoking, eating healthily and telling your GP about any of the following symptoms that are unusual to you, such as:

  • a persistent cough or change in your normal cough

(Please note, if you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus - a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste - visit the NHS website for advice or call 111 if you cannot get help online. It is important you stay at home.)

  • coughing up blood
  • being short of breath
  • unexplained tiredness or weight loss
  • an ache or pain when breathing or coughing
  • appetite loss